#UgBlogWeek. Today’s post is dead. Come back tomorrow.

24 Oct

This is by far the hardest day for me in this #UgBlogWeek. For some reason, I am quite exhausted, despite not having worked today and, save for a couple of hours in the evening, having spent the entire day at home. So what is it that has me so tired? Is it the exhaustion from a long week catching up with me, or the string of late nights I have been doing, thanks in part to #UgBlogWeek?

It is not just challenging because I am tired. It is also challenging because I cannot find any images or random words to ignite that spark that usually gets me past the 100 word mark. Of course, the fact that I am dozing off is not helping matters. Is there any salvation for this post?

The data bundle on my modem just run out. I tethered from my phone briefly before that run out too and I was forced to simply load a bundle on my modem. I will use it tomorrow though because I just called Time of Death on today’s post.

Good night!

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#UgBlogWeek It was not forever, but at least we tried, like The Man in the Arena

23 Oct

Back in the day, before Miley Cyrus had made twerking a thing, and she and Liam Hemsworth were still dating, they got matching tattoos.

Liam Hemsworth-Miley Cyrus tattoos

Liam Hemsworth-Miley Cyrus tattoos

Rather apt I must say, considering they eventually broke up. Hey, at least they fought hard to make it work. We can safely say they are neither cold nor timid.

The words in the tattoos are a quote from Citizenship in a Republic, a 35-page speech given by former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1910.

Many a time, those that ridicule and criticize us as we attempt feats of great daring and courage are the ones who dare not try themselves. What better way to feel better about themselves than to convince themselves that others cannot accomplish what they dare not try? They desperately need it to be true so that they do not come off as cowards.

Roosevelt’s words are a powerful reminder to pay no mind to what other people say as you go about the business of working towards your goals. To cast aside fear and failure and mediocrity and the pedestrian, and reach for excellence in your chosen fields. Just like the “Man in the Arena”.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

#UgBlogWeek. Day 2. Already? Again? Must I? Ok, here’s an Ode to Family…(sorry I meant Day 4)

22 Oct

So it is Day 2 of #UgBlogWeek, albeit with only a few minutes to Day 3. Day 2 for me anyway. I started yesterday, remember? I must confess that for someone who goes months without publishing a single post, this is indeed a challenge. Here I was, typing away late into last night, excited about the prospect of finally having some Ugandan followers, only to wake up to just one additional Follow, that was not even from a Ugandan! Talk about ice water being poured all over my excitement.

Okay, maybe my expectations were too high. Here’s to taking them down a notch. Scratch that. Here’s to taking them down six notches…… Yes, I think that is a reasonable level of expectation.

I just got home late from a family meeting. I must admit to the stark contrast between the meetings I attend with my family, and the meetings I attend at work :-). My family is the kind that looks for excuses to be together because we truly enjoy each other’s company. And even if today’s meeting was long overdue, you always get the sense that none of us really minds staying longer than planned.

I feel really blessed to belong to a unit that overflows with love and concern, one for the other. Of course, we don’t always agree, but the greater good is always the end goal. We each have our busy lives, and yes, sometimes we don’t hear from each other as often as we’d like, but we thank God for Whatsapp :-).

We started this thing on our siblings Whatsapp group where we post one thing that we are grateful for every day. Of course, with the fast-paced existence of our generation, we have not exactly kept to it. But today, instead of saying it on Whatsapp, I am saying it here. So consider this an Ode to the people I am blessed to call family.

#UgBlogWeek. There is such a thing?

21 Oct

I came across a blog post that said it is the #UgBlogWeek, and I was pleasantly surprised. Surprised because I didn’t know there is such a thing. Pleasant because I think it is a good opportunity to challenge myself.

Now I am coming into the week two days late, but I figure that is all the more reason to manage the bare minimum one post a day. You would think that is easy enough to achieve. But guess what? An hour ago, a friend I was chatting to on the phone asked me what I was going to write about and I said I didn’t know. It was only half the truth. I didn’t actually know what I was going to write about, but I knew I would write anyway, or at the very least, attempt to. I still don’t know what I am going to write about. I am sure you can tell. I did tell him that if I ended up staring at a blank screen for five minutes, I would give it up and reward myself with a good night’s sleep.

It’s been such a long time since I posted anything that I feel like I have forgotten how to let the words take me where they want to go. There! Something you can say for consistency. The art of just keeping at it, even if you don’t seem to be making any progress. Fortunately or unfortunately, this art works for a lot of things under the sun. Swimming, playing volleyball, driving a manual car, learning to play the guitar, studying music theory, writing a product spec, or starting a business-in all these pursuits, you need to put in the time and the work on a regular basis, so as to get to the point where you feel that you truly have something worth showing. Most of us look at those who have made it, and assume that they are super talented or gifted, and that they arrived at their level of skill, mastery or success in a matter of weeks, months or a couple of years. What we never see or hear about are the doubts that plagued those same people but didn’t stop them from forging ahead, or the number of times they stopped and then started again. The truth is that it is in those that fake-it-till-you-make-it mode that the ins and outs of your pursuit reveal themselves, and you start to learn and understand things that you would never find in a book, and no one can or will teach you. It is also when you start to create your own version of your art. Something that no one else ever has or ever will create in the very same way.

So what am I saying here? I am saying that whatever it is that you are doing that you believe is the stuff your dreams are made of, keep working hard at it. One of these days, when you least expect it, something will click, and you will be glad you stayed at the proverbial spinning wheel.

There! I made it. Barely 🙂 Time for bed!

I Have Not Actively Worked. I Have Sat Quietly.

29 Jun

This post is about racism. But the same may be said for so many of us regarding all other injustices against human beings across the world. So, what have you done?

Teri Carter's Library

_______________

In times like this, white people are quick to throw their hands up and dissociate themselves from racism and the person accused of the racist act. But how many of them can say they have actively worked to challenge the racism in the people around them? How many folks have sat quietly as Uncle Jimbo tells the story of the time he put that one nigger in his place at work?       ~~ Jamilah Lemieux, Ebony Magazine

Within minutes of seeing it, I send a message to his mother, my cousin. Have you seen your son’s new tattoo?

There is a flag. There is a noose. There are the words Southern Justice scrolled across.

 I’ve seen it, she says. But he just turned 18. He’s an adult. What am I supposed to do? I want to scream, You are supposed to act like his fucking mother! and You’re…

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God’s gender: a cautionary tale

13 Jun

I wouldn’t go as far as using both masculine and feminine pronouns in reference to God, but I believe an important idea is shared here: that God is so much bigger than the poor nouns and pronouns we mere mortals use to describe him.

... because God is love

Is God a man?

Is God a woman?

Does it really matter?

These and similar questions seem to be doing the rounds again, on social media and elsewhere. My answers, in brief, would be “No”, “No”, and “Yes, very much.”

Why does it matter so much? Why does it matter what language we use about God, what pronouns and names and titles we use to address and describe God?

Let me tell you a story.

You know those arguments children have which go “boys are better than girls”, “no, girls are better than boys”, “no, boys are better than girls”, on and on and on? They’re especially annoying on long car journeys or in waiting rooms.

A while back, two of the children I work with, then aged about 5, were having just such an argument. I wan’t paying much attention, just keeping half an eye on things in case…

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Hope

11 Jun

Claudya Fritska is 13, and blind. But when she opens her mouth to sing, the voice of an angel comes forth. She was the 5th finalist in Indonesia’s Got Talent 2014, Indonesia’s chapter of the more well-known British talent competition, Britain’s Got Talent. When she auditioned, several eyes in the room teared up. Practically no one in the audience had known who she was until she stood on that stage. If she had not sung Celine Dion’s “I Surrender” almost as well as Celine, no one would have remembered her. Her unassuming presence and beautiful voice ensured that they were touched by her story as much as by her voice, for she had lost her sight to cancer.

But the wet cheeks and shaky voices that followed that first performance got me thinking. What is it about human beings that gets their tears flowing when they hear a touching story? It seems obvious, right? The story is moving, so it is not surprising that they should cry. But that’s just the thing, when you think about it, or at least when I do, it isn’t. Why? Why do we cry? In Claudya’s case, I don’t think it was the soft voice with which she said “terima kasih” after every compliment, which is Indonesian for thank you. No. It wasn’t that.

What is that intangible thing that makes us all shed the same emotion? Is there a little string there connecting us as humans? What exactly are we feeling when we cry because of a sad story, a sad movie, or a touching story of perseverance in the face of adversity? Whatever it is, it is comforting to know that we are still the same in many ways. That we still feel the same things. Hope, pain, betrayal, sorrow, joy, happiness; that we are still connected. It is a little glimmer of hope in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary when faced by genocide, human trafficking, terrorism, xenophobia and several other ills born of hatred and intolerance, that we face in the world today. We can definitely look on that, and say, there is hope.